It’s true, not everyone is going to heaven. But God does have a clear and easy to understand plan to get there.
So, how can you know for sure that you are going to heaven? The answers are found in scripture, the inspired Word of God. We can begin to answer this question by looking at a clear-cut statement by Peter in the book of Acts.
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12
Peter is one of the most believable sources you can go to. He walked with Jesus for 3 years. He saw Jesus preach to and miraculously feed thousands, heal the sick, raise the dead, wash his feet, go to the cross, and rise from death Himself. Peter’s credentials as a witness to Jesus are impressive. As to the trustworthiness of scripture, we have the testimony of scripture itself that it is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16). So let’s move forward with the scriptures as our guide to answering the questions we have.
This statement by Peter the apostle is a lucid and clear explanation of where our salvation comes from. Salvation comes through Jesus Christ. If we back up 2 chapters to Acts 2: 37-41, Peter’s reply to the crowd of people who asked, “what must we do to be saved?” referred to repentance of our sins and the act of accepting his message. We know that God honored their decisions to follow Christ by the statement “and that day about three thousand people were added.”
Jesus said in John 14:6,
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
This is one of the most powerful statements in the bible. He claimed to be THE way. THE truth. THE life. He claimed that He is the ONLY way to get to the Father. Since He is the only person in history to have ever conquered death, maybe we should listen to this guy who rose from the dead. He is the way. And as Peter proclaimed, “there is salvation in no one else.”
Salvation is a free gift! Look at what Jesus said in John 3:16. We’re so used to this verse, our grasp of its message can become enfeebled. But let’s read it again, and in context. Reading the entire chapter is very helpful. For now, let’s at least read it with the 2 verses that follow:
For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. – John 3:16-18 (NET).
Romans 6:23 confirms that salvation is a gift by stating: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Eternal life is a gift from God. Who made it happen? Jesus.
Mankind was not in a position to secure its own salvation. We were not capable of earning God’s forgiveness without help. It had to be a sinless man. So the Father sent Jesus to perfectly meet the requirements. The following wonderful verses explain this truth:
“Jesus is the only Mediator between God and man” (1 Timothy 2:5). He is the only person to have lived a perfect human life (Hebrews 4:15). He is the only sacrifice for sin (1 John 2:2). He alone fulfilled the Law of the Prophets (Matthew 5:17). He is the only man to have conquered death forever. Jesus is the only One to have come down from heaven and returned there (John 3:13).
So far then, we’ve established:
1. Not everyone is going to heaven.
2. There is one way to heaven. It’s Jesus.
Now let’s look more closely at how to be sure we will go to heaven.
How exactly do I appropriate Jesus as my way to heaven?
Simply believe in Him, as Jesus stated in John 3:16 to 18. Since salvation is not earned, I don’t need to do anything to appropriate salvation for myself. The way I can know that my belief in Him is sincere is in the fact that I will naturally display signs of that belief by making Him the Lord of my life.
“Works” are not required for salvation. But works (activities that are an outflowing of God’s presence in my life) will come naturally as a result of true belief. Sensitive people should not worry about this interplay between belief and works. Genuine belief automatically generates and creates an environment in which the Holy Spirit begins to work through us.
Assurance of Salvation
Having the assurance of salvation in your mind is not about feelings, it is simply about believing what God has promised. You can even ask God to help you with that. Trust Him that He is supremely capable of making sure your eternity is in His hands.
If you have trouble believing it at times, then remind yourself that even faith does not originate in you. Faith too is a gift. Mankind has fallen so far that even faith is beyond your and my sinful frailty.
Remember, God created us with the attributes we have. Mankind was created with free will. Our first ancestors chose to disobey, and the world has been in turmoil ever since. That’s nothing to feel inferior about. It doesn’t mean you don’t measure up. Let’s replace unhelpful thoughts with the knowledge that God, Who knew whom He was creating, has graciously made a way for you to be in His holy presence for all eternity.
Romans 8:29-30 tells us, “because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.” So in addition to creating us with a free will to ultimately choose, our Father in Heaven determined beforehand that those of us who follow Jesus Christ will belong to Him and be conformed to the likeness of His Son. What a privilege!
“God’s provision for you is full, complete, and unbreakable.”
He’s made a way! Do you love Him and want to serve Him no matter what? Then rest in that without striving and without concern that maybe His glorious system, the Good News, has holes in it. To the contrary, God’s provision for you is full, complete, and unbreakable. As God is perfect, His provision for you is perfect!
A member of my family recently texted me with some questions about this topic.
Here’s the actual dialog.
HER:“FYI My questions have to do with a couple things. The fact that we are saved by faith, and yet sometimes when I doubt my salvation, does that mean I’m not saved? Since faith is necessary for salvation, and I don’t always have the faith that I’m actually saved.
And also that verse about all the sinners who won’t get into heaven, idolators, etc, so if a person struggles with idolatry, they won’t get into heaven? Etc. What’s the difference between an idolator that is going to heaven and one that isn’t?
Anyway, stuff like that. Paul talked in a way that he wasn’t sure he’d ever “attain” salvation, so it makes me wonder sometimes.”
ME:“I have to say, these 3 verses alone are truly earth shattering. The famous John 3:16. But when you read it together with the following verses, it’s a blockbuster. So…”
John 3:16-18: “16 For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. 18 The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.“
HER:“I do wonder what it refers to when it says, believe in Him. In who He is? His death and resurrection?”
ME:“Another way of putting it is that a person ‘has decided to follow Jesus,’ as the song goes. Done! The transaction is done. Jesus said, ‘abide in me.’ Abiding is simply sticking with him.”
“Yes, in both. It is believing in the whole package of who and what Jesus is.”
HER:“Sometimes I feel like I’m not following Him because I disobey so much. But I do believe in Him and am sticking with Him!”
ME:“As you say, ‘But I do believe in Him and am sticking with Him.’ Jesus is very clear later in John that that is what saves you. Just that.”
HER:“But I always tell Him, I’m counting on your blood and sacrifice to save me! Because I don’t save myself.”
ME:“Yes, well these are such clear cut indicators that you are a follower of Jesus. A follower of Him is going to heaven.”
John 14:1,3,6 CSB
‘Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.  If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also.  Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’
Romans 10:9 NKJV
‘that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.'”
HER:“What does it mean to confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus? Because I always thought of this verse, that the demons even know Jesus is Lord and [that] God raised Him from the dead.”
ME:“Notice “Jesus AS LORD”. The Greek word means, to acknowledge or declare that Jesus is Lord. To demons, He is not Lord. They’ve made the devil their lord. The NASB translates it better, actually: Romans 10:9 NASB
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
From the exact Greek (as I see from Strongs), I would translate confess as ‘declare.'”
ME:“It is a personal appropriation of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is saving faith.
‘So if you believe in Him and His work on the cross (faith), that is the sole condition of justification.’ – from Believer’s Bible Commentary.”
First book by Lutzer: My family and I attended Moody Church for a number of years with Erwin Lutzer as pastor. His ministry was (and is) most appreciated. This is an excellent book on the subject.
Second book by MacArthur: Trust John MacArthur to unpack scriptural truth in a compelling way. This is a must-read for anyone wanting to know for certain that they can be saved without a doubt.
|How You Can Be Sure that You Will Spend Eternity with God, repackaged
By Erwin W. Lutzer / Moody Publishers
Be wrong about social security, be wrong about baseball, be wrong about your career choice, but don’t be wrong about where you will spend eternity.
This book makes a big promise, but it does deliver: How You Can Be Sure You Will Spend Eternity with God. It answers a host of questions, such as:
|Saved Without a Doubt, repackaged
By John MacArthur / David C Cook
Am I really saved? Am I going to heaven? How can I know for sure? Every believer has wrestled with these questions at some point in their journey. Saved Without A Doubt tackles this challenging topic by examining scripture to uncover the truth of salvation, while addressing tough questions that can hinder our faith. Readers will develop a Bible-based theology of salvation and be encouraged to securely rest in their personal relationship with Christ.
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